Strange New Worlds Season 2 Episode 4 Is About … Sorry, What Was I Talking About?

One might complain that “Lotus Eaters” is not entirely original, and one would be within their rights to do so. As mentioned above, “Star Trek” seems to operate from a template of limited story types, and after 57 years of TV and movies, the franchise is bound to repeat itself a few times. But, like slasher movies or superhero flicks, after a while, the predictability and banality might be considered a large part of their charm. “Lotus Eaters” might repeat a few Trek tropes, but handles them well enough, and makes them unique enough to the “Strange New Worlds” characters that it stands apart from something like “Conundrum.” It’s interesting to Trekkies to see how Pike and Ortegas escape from a memory loss scenario when compared to Captain Picard and company.

Notably, Pike’s relationship was a unique factor. On the previous “Star Trek” shows, the captains often tended to eschew romance. Kirk (William Shatner) has romances, but they were fleeting. Picard (Patrick Stewart) had a long-term never-quite-a-romance with Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden). Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) almost had romances with Chakotay (Robert Beltran) and a holographic Irish dude. It was only Sisko (Avery Brooks) that developed a long-term relationship. Seeing Pike prepare a meal for Captain Batel and hearing them mutually complain about their lack of free time and overwhelming jobs is new for “Star Trek.” What would it look like if two captains fell in love? It seems that it would be hard. 

By the end of “Lotus Eaters,” however, once the crisis has been averted and the status quo is restored, Pike and Batel try to give it another shot. Their relationship is shored up, Ortegas is edified by her overwhelmingly impressive starship piloting abilities, and the mission continues. 

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